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Le développement durable en question : analyses économiques autour d’un improbable compromis entre acceptions optimiste et pessimiste du rapport de l’Homme à la Nature

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  • Verchère, Alban

    (GATE-LSE, Université de Saint-Étienne)

Abstract

Since the publication of the Brundtland Report more than 20 years ago, sustainable development became always more popular. If it is probably necessary to operationalize it more effectively in order to foster its daily perception by people, sustainable development remains a soft concept since the beginning because its sources are both old and various. Our purpose in this paper is, first of all, to reconstitute the long history about relationship between men and nature in economics, from Malthus writings up to weak and strong conceptions of sustainability. We shall see that these debates exhibit a continuous opposition between optimistic and pessimistic parties and, moreover, considering that each party has reasonable arguments to oppose to the other, each of them had finally contributed to foster the economic analysis of sustainable development around which can be now considered as two kind of traditions: environmental and resources economics on one hand, and ecological economics on the other. Résumé : Le concept de développement durable s’est considérablement popularisé depuis la parution du rapport Brundtland il y a presque 25 ans. S’il faut sans doute l’opérationnaliser pour le faire entrer dans le quotidien des agents, il reste au fond un concept mou aux origines aussi lointaines que protéiformes. L’objet de cet article est de faire état de la longue série de débats sur le rapport de l’homme à la nature en économie : de Malthus aux conceptions faibles et fortes du développement durable. On verra que si ces débats illustrent l’opposition maintes fois renouvelée entre partis de l’optimisme et du pessimisme, tous ont surtout régulièrement fait valoir des arguments sensés ou intelligibles, au point de contribuer ensemble à faire progresser l’analyse économique du développement durable autour de ce que l’on peut désormais concevoir comme deux traditions s’enrichissant in fine l’une de l’autre : l’économie de l’environnement et des ressources naturelles d’un côté, et la plus récente écologie économique de l’autre.

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  • Verchère, Alban, 2011. "Le développement durable en question : analyses économiques autour d’un improbable compromis entre acceptions optimiste et pessimiste du rapport de l’Homme à la Nature," L'Actualité Economique, Société Canadienne de Science Economique, vol. 87(3), pages 337-403, septembre.
  • Handle: RePEc:ris:actuec:0058
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